Virtual Learning Communitites
This session was led by Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach (man I wish I went to W&M for grad school instead of VT) and did not involve Pee Wee Herman.
Of Dubious Import to Anyone Else
There was a lot of conversation debating what community is and what makes a person a member of a community. The majority seemed to feel that you had to give back to the community. I guess I differ in my thinking as to what giving back is.
Steve Dembo said “action has to be part of it” but I wonder if we’re not defining action too narrowly-
In this case if the goal is to change education so if you take what you learn from the community and go out and change your piece of education you are giving back to the community because you are accomplishing its goals (even if the community is unaware of it). Maybe that’s too flaky. Or if you take what you learn one place and use it to contribute elsewhere it’d seem to me you were expanding the community by proxy as you’re expanding the reach of it’s shared values, goals etc.
Simply belonging does impact and help shape a community. If Pee Wee Herman joins your ning community it would change how others (even members) view that community. That can work in a very positive way as well but I just wanted to mention Pee Wee Herman in a post.
There’s also my gut reaction that lots of people are at various stages in this cycle, to totally discount the role of the lurker would be unfortunate . Some may not be ready to post or comment but if reading the community is changing their life then it seems they are part of the community. It just doesn’t feel right to me to cut them out of the community wholesale. If you think about it simple readers impact the prestige of the community as well. It’s all an interconnected network in my mind.
The whole point of most of our edtech communities is to change teaching and if that’s happening with those involved then it seems like things are working to me. I could be drifting away from community more towards functionality and impact but maybe community doesn’t matter as much as function and impact.
Things you need in an online community
- Tireless Champion- like Steve was for edubloggercon
- Greeters- make the first experience with the community really positive
- Questioners- keep the pot stirring
- Professional/Personal- a mix of the two keeps things interesting and increases buy in (also a good initial motivator)
We ended with the question “Where does authority lie in a community?” and the subsequent idea of how would that work in a school where authority is assigned and more rigid in most cases.
lost, necc07, necc2007, edubloggercon07, edubloggercon2007, ebc07vlc